A healthy Mike Williams could unlock the NY Jets offense

Mike Williams is the X-factor for the Jets' offense in 2024
Mike Williams
Mike Williams / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

The NY Jets went into the offseason with a clear priority to upgrade their wide receiver room. The team sought out multiple trade options and free-agent possibilities before eventually settling on former Los Angeles Chargers wideout Mike Williams as their preferred target.

Williams joins the Jets on a team-friendly one-year, $10 million contract, although his cap hit in 2024 is under $3 million because of void years added. That's a remarkably cheap deal for a player with multiple 1,000-yard campaigns under his belt, but there's a very good reason the Jets landed him at such an affordable rate.

The Chargers released Williams this offseason due in part to his sizable contract, but another factor was his injury history. The 30-year-old is coming off a torn ACL that sidelined him for most of the 2023 season, and his history of back and neck problems was a frequent annoyance in Los Angeles.

Injuries are a genuine concern with Williams entering the 2024 season, but if he remains healthy, he has the potential to unlock the entire Jets' offense and lead the team to new heights this year. His impact cannot be overstated.

Mike Williams is the X-factor in the NY Jets offense in 2024

Williams gives the Jets everything they wanted and more in a No. 2 wide receiver. He's a perfect complement to Garrett Wilson, as a big-bodied, jump-ball receiver who excels downfield in contested-catch situations.

For as talented as Wilson is, contested catches remain one of his only weaknesses as a receiver. Williams not only gives the Jets a sure-handed red-zone/deep threat, but his presence could allow Wilson to take another step forward.

The Jets will no longer be relying on players like Xavier Gipson, Allen Lazard, and Jason Brownlee to play heavy snaps on offense this season. That should help remove attention from their superstar wide receiver.

Williams's downfield threat will force defenses to remain honest, opening up the underneath routes for Wilson, which is where he shines. This is exactly how Williams and Keenan Allen complemented each other for years in Los Angeles.

Wilson actually compares favorably to Allen in that both players excel as underneath route runners who command a high volume of targets. Williams and Allen each brought out the best in each other with the Chargers, and the Jets are likely hoping the same will be true for their new wide receiver duo.

Williams has proven that he can thrive in the exact same WR2 role the Jets will place him in. In the same way he excelled as Allen's counterpart in Los Angeles, the Jets hope he can do alongside Wilson.

Williams is at his best in contested-catch situations, hauling in a stellar 54.3 percent of contested-catch opportunities throughout his career. That's nearly 10 percentage points higher than the league average.

He's not just a contested-catch merchant either. While Williams struggled with concentration drops very early in his career, those concerns have gone away. The Clemson product has a drop rate of just 5.1 percent over the last four years with only one drop over the last two seasons combined.

Williams is also an excellent fit alongside Aaron Rodgers. Two of Rodgers' favorite routes over the last few years, especially under Nathaniel Hackett, have been go routes and crossing patterns. Those are two of Williams' most frequently run and successful routes throughout his career.

The Jets needed a wide receiver who could not only complement Wilson but someone who could accentuate the strengths of their quarterback and fill the roles that others on the roster couldn't. Mike Williams does both of those things.

If the Jets' offense is going to reach its potential in 2024 and actually serve as a strength for the team. they're going to need a healthy Mike Williams. Don't sleep on his importance this season.

This article is part of the "Summer Spotlight" series on The Jet Press, dedicated to highlighting individual players on the Jets roster throughout the summer. Stay tuned for more features as we provide in-depth profiles and insights on various Jets players before the season kicks off.

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